My body aches. Saturday evening, I took two of my flatmates and met several of my friends for the Annual Highland Something, for which the student centre supplies a variety of ceilidhs. There was so much spinning and fiddle-dee-dee (in the words of Tom), that my bones feel flung to bits. But it is a good sort of pain, and I would do it again tomorrow if there was a chance.

Our photographer was not with us, so I have no proof of the adventure apart from my own creaking joints. I'll be sure to fix that next time.


because you were all wondering what I'm writing my dissertation on, here's a brief synopsis of my 'research context':

When James Macpherson published his Fragments of Ancient Poetry in 1760, he went to great lengths to make the Fragments appear to be authentic remains of an ancient, heroic oral tradition. His reasons for this were largely political, and as such, influenced the content of the epics themselves. As an attempt to establish a particularly Scottish identity, the poems were quite effective. However, to do so required both a simplification and a manipulation of traditional mythology. Stripped of anagogical significance, the Ossian epics more or less represented an Enlightenment version of history, tradition, and mythic heritage. The stories themselves were changed by their very purpose and in turn changed the manner of representing myth in future narratives.

Moreover, the emphasis on the Ossian epics as authentic tales from the past, as ‘fragments,’ served to distinguish form from content in a new way. The epics were not so important as stories as they were as artefacts. In the same way that the British Museum, which was established in 1753, displayed certain items as representative of a particular culture, so also were the Ossian writings put forth as representative pieces of the past.

There you go. This all sounds really interesting, but I'm not sure if it's actually valid. I suppose that's what my dissertation will show. 'Initially I thought that Ossian marked a change in definitions of mythology, but now I am convinced that it stayed the same from the beginning to the end of the year 1760. Thus, there is no point to these 15000 words.' Oh dear...

note: one thing I left out: I am focusing on the responses located in Edinburgh and London. and I'm presently unsure to what extent I will involve contemporary literary theory.


this makes the third month for me to come down with a sudden mysterious illness. except that this isn't very mysterious--I have a sore throat and a runny nose. last month it was a stomach flu for five hours, and the month before it was whatever attacked my abdomen in Rome on Christmas Eve. I should not have slacked off with my vitamins. I am clearly not adjusted to the British air.

meanwhile, my curtains have been washed, Liesl and I made amazing lemon cake from a box, and flat six is planning a party for the Chinese New Year replete with sing-alongs, a musician's DJ, boardgames, fireworks, pizza, Chinese take-away, and dumpling. It is a Hilarious Party. Looking forward to it.


for wednesday and thursday:

Scott's Ivanhoe
Hegel's Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Art (excerpts)
Austen's Northanger Abbey (and accompanying critical essay by unremembered critic)

for dissertation proposal and other concerns:
The Cambridge Companion to the Scottish Enlightenment, The Scottish Enlightenment: An Anthology, Bardic Nationalism, Nation and Narration, Culture and Imperialism, and Ossian and Ossianism by a variety of authors, contemporary and... old.

what I have done in the last week other than reading, attending class, and fretting internally over my dissertation proposal:

no, I have not even called my mother, to whom I wish a wonderful week with all the love I can muster into the space of a blog.


your hair is long when I dream of you

and your hands and fingers are long, too.

you stoop low and turn to hear my voice,

cup my chin in your piano hands,

and with the center of your attention, muffle all outward noise

(I think you wear a cape).

—my hands are narrow and come to a point

you tuck them like bread in your pockets

and we walk to the train—

we are lovers, so of course we walk in the rain,

and smile while the drops form a frame

for our faces.

I cannot remember where you take us—

to the dining car or the caboose.

we wave from the windows,

smiling at strangers,

and wonder that no one out there

knows our names.

the landscape’s the same as when we left.

I ask you, ‘have we gone in circles?’

you say, ‘the ride’s enough’

and pinch my nose and glance below

at the murky water

(it is a dream, remember).

for now we stand beside a pond

you still hold my hand

(your skin is so thin)

and I take each of your fingers in my mouth

to warm them with my breath.

the pond is rimmed in ice

but below I see the catfish swim.

‘let’s go in.’

you hold my arm:

‘you’ll catch your death’ you say

with worry in the corner of your eye.

I laugh at you,

a hearty laugh,

and plunge beneath the crust.

the ring around my finger rusts

reminding me that you’re somewhere behind.

I drop to the bottom

hands first

and must push back to the surface

with all the narrow force of my narrow feet.

the pond is now a sea,

and you have left me.

(I weep myself awake, and find your picture between the pages of my books)

(your hair is short, your hands are firm, and you’re alone beneath a harsh light)

(I crawl back into bed and warm my frostbitten toes

with all the blankets and pillows

that I can reach)


[unfinished] 180107


This week's forecast

Chance of flat confrontations: 94%
Number of flat conversations about flat confrontations: 17
Possible routes of escape from flat confrontations: 2 (door, window)
'Safety' rooms-in case of confrontational emergency head to: Jess' room, room 01.
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